Dr Misty Jenkins, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne

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01 September 2013

When killing saves lives: our immune system at work

Misty Jenkins spends a lot of her time watching killers at work: the white blood cells of the body that eliminate infected and cancerous cells.

She can already tell you a great deal about how they develop into assassins and arm themselves and her L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowship Misty allowed her to explore how they become efficient serial killers—killing one cancer cell in minutes and moving on to hunt down others. Her work will give us a greater understanding of our immune system and open the way to better manage T cells to defeat disease.



2007 PhD (Microbiology and Immunology), The University of Melbourne
2001 Bachelor of Science with Honours (Immunology), The University of Melbourne

Career highlights, awards, fellowships, grants

2012-present Governing board member, National Centre for Indigenous Genomics, John Curtain School of Medical Research, Australian National University
2012 Consultant on expert working group in Indigenous Engagement in Science, Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and part of the federal government’s ‘Inspiring Australia’ initiative
2012 National Association of Research Fellows Postdoctoral Investigator of the Year
2012 Invited seminar speaker, The Mater Medical Research Institute
2011-present Member, The University of Melbourne Alumni Council
2011-present Consultant board member and student mentor, The Aspiration Initiative, Aurora Project
2011-present NHMRC Postdoctoral Biomedical Research Fellow, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
2010-present Honorary Research Fellow and student mentor, University of Ballarat
2010 Invited seminar speaker, Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, UK
2009-present Consultant, Charlie Perkins Trust
2009 Invited speaker at The Dynamic Cell, Joint meeting of the Biochemical Society and the British Society for Cell Biology, Edinburgh, UK
2009 Best Speaker Prize, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge, UK
2008-2012 NHMRC CJ Martin Overseas Biomedical Fellowship
2008-2012 NHMRC RG Menzies Fellowship
2008-2010 Fellow of St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge, UK
2007-2010 NHMRC Postdoctoral Biomedical Research Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, UK
2007 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Oxford, UK
2006 Invited seminar speaker, St Jude Children’s Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA
2006 Scholarship for academic excellence, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Melbourne
2003-2007 PhD candidate, The University of Melbourne
2002-2003 Senior Research Assistant, Department of Physiology, The University of Melbourne
1997-2001 BSc, BSc(Hons) student, The University of Melbourne

Top five publications

Jenkins MR, Tsun A, Stinchcombe J and Griffiths GM (2009) The strength of T cell receptor signal controls the polarization of cytotoxicity machinery to the immunological synapse, Immunity 31: 621-631. (Impact factor 20.6, 42 citations) This article was highlighted in Science.

Jenkins MR, La Gruta NL, Doherty PC, Trapani JA, Turner SJ and Waterhouse NJ (2009) Visualizing CTL activity for different CD8+ effector T Cells supports the idea that lower TCR/epitope avidity may be advantageous for target cell killing, Cell Death and Differentiation 16: 537-542. (Impact factor 8.2, 11 citations)

Jenkins MR, Doherty PC and Turner SJ (2007) Heterogeneity of effector phenotype for acute phase and memory Influenza A virus-specific CTL, Journal of Immunology 179:64-70. (Impact factor 5.8, 41 citations)

Jenkins MR, Mintern J, La Gruta NL, Kedzierska K, Doherty PC and Turner SJ (2008) Cell cycle-related acquisition of cytotoxic mediators defines the progressive differentiation to effector status for virus-specific CD8+ T cells, Journal of Immunology 181:3818-3822. (Impact factor 5.8, 21 citations) This article featured in the highlights section in the journal as being in the top 10% of articles published in the Journal of Immunology.

Lopez JA and Jenkins MR, Rudd-Schmidt J, Brennan AJ, Danne JC, Mannering SI, Trapani JA and Voskoboinik I (2013) Rapid and unidirectional perforin pore delivery at the cytotoxic immune synapse, Journal of Immunology Jul 26 2013. (Joint first author)



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